October 6th, 2000, was the first time I held and hugged my youngest son Zane, and I was blessed to have been able to hug him millions of times between then and the day he took his own life on July 26, 2017. They say a mother’s touch is worth a thousand words, but no amount of words or hugs or love can bring back my son; I can only hope to spare another family the pain mine has gone through, and one way I do that is by spreading love and sharing Zane’s story with everyone I meet.
Saturday, August 24th I set out to Maxey Park ready to face the heat for Lubbock Pride 2019. I had signed up for a shift with Free Lubbock Hugs, a local organization inspired by the organization Free Mom Hugs. A friend of mine, Amy Martin, headed up this group of moms (and dads) because of a personal passion: her daughter. Several of my fellow Lubbock Moms Blog writers were huggers right alongside me, and I was blessed to be joined by my dear friend Katy and new friend Amanda, who I met at the event. It is amazing how hugging strangers can bring the world together 💙💚🧡❤️💜.
You see, this wasn’t just a place for this lonely mom to gain a few hugs; this was a place of love. The entire park was nothing but love (except for the 5 obnoxious protesters). I decided to write about the event because I felt a deep connection to what us moms were doing. We were showing other humans that we love them, and we don’t give a hoot what letter of the alphabet they are. Pride started at noon but before it even started, we had TWO young people approach us for hugs, telling us that their moms are no longer part of their lives because of their lifestyle. WHAT??? My child is no longer on this Earth, but there is a mother out there who disowns her child who is? I just can’t understand how a mother can do this; I’d give anything to hug my boy’s neck just one more time.
I wonder if those mothers know the statistics of the suicide rate from having a highly rejecting family. According to a 2017 report by the CDC, suicide is the 2nd most leading cause of death among youth, but it’s 5 times more prevalent among LGBT youth, also according to the CDC. Would these precious children lost to suicide still be here had their mothers been accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity? This may not have been the case for my Zane, but suicide is suicide. And I’ll never stop trying to save someone else’s baby.
I can’t stop thinking about the beautiful humans I hugged on Saturday, every one of them in full embrace. At times I’m not sure who needed the hug more, them or me, regardless of whether they were a teen or adult. I don’t know if they’ve ever thought about ending their lives, but if they have I pray it wasn’t because their mom refused to give them a hug. That would tear me apart. What I wouldn’t give to hug my Zane one more time. 💜
For additional information: The Trevor Project is an organization geared toward preventing suicide and self-harm to the LGBTQ community up to age 25. There is a plethora of information on their website about how to get help if you are in trouble or know of someone who is struggling. SAGE is another organization for an older age group, the term they use is “elder”. SAGE is about advocacy, services, and support for the older members of the LGBT community. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a list of resources and links for information, but can and will help personally. Locally, The Center for Superheroes is starting a support group geared to LGBTQIA youth; learn more by calling 806-743-2470. If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.